Civil Society Needs Foreign Donors Support to Work

Activism Support
Activism Support

Madam Riva Levinson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of KRL International, USA has called on foreign donors to help promote and sustain activism in Africa the right way.

She said donors in Africa could help in the development of activists by empowering them with management skills, mobilisation tools and new technologies and aiding civil society but not to influence them to act.

Madam Levinson made the call at the 2019 Aggrey-Fraser-Guggisberg Memorial Lectures held at the University of Ghana (UG) on the theme: “The Future of Democracy in Africa.”

Speaking on the topic: “Democracy’s Keepers: The Rise of the Activist Generation in Africa,” Madam Levinson said the ‘activist generation’ as well as its contingent organisations and movements had proven to be the greatest pressure in strengthening democratic institutions.

She said activists had assisted in checking corruption within the democratic practice in Africa and therefore merit support from international and domestic communities.

In Levinson’s view, political elites take advantage of weakened institutions and opaque electoral processes for their parochial interest, which energises the youth to mobilise to demand positive changes.

She cited instances in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Togo where the dissatisfied populace in their quest to influence change, encouraged the emergence of an activist generation.

“And change comes, at times dramatically, at times incrementally, but it is inevitable, because history is on their side”, she added.

Madam Levinson urged policy makers to focus interventions domestically, regionally and internationally in the direction of dissatisfied democrats to boost their activities.

She explained that helping the civil society to own the data with regard to all facets of a country’s administration and letting their voices heard could prevent a lot of chaos.

“Data is power. It does not pick sides and it does not lie. As such, we must help the civil society own the data, at all parts of the democratic process, polling of opinions on leadership, on trust in institutions, and attitudes towards the future”, she said.

Madam Levinson said early collection of data could serve as a check against fake news on the day of the vote and urged that no competitive election should take place in Africa again, without a Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) giving a non-captive validation of election results.

Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, the Vice-Chancellor of UG, urged Africans to balance democracy within the context of their values, culture and beliefs to protect traditional systems in the quest to strengthen democracy and fight against corruption in Africa.

“Let us endeavour to make our practice of democracy to be in cohesion with loyalty, self-love. Let us sustain peace and stability in our traditional and cultural setups and centre our democracy on the rich foundational values of respect, honesty, and care for one another, unity, hospitality, language, among others,” he said.

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